The right way to hold and lift your baby

Caring for a new born baby is not just about sleepless nights, constant crying and frequent nappy changing sessions. What most parents don’t counter is the physical challenges that come with taking care of a new born. Lifting and carrying a baby can take a physical toll on the body and sleep deprivation can make the body even more prone to injury and lead to physical break down.

New mothers also must realize that after baby birth, the body is just recovering from the drastic changes that have occurred during pregnancy. A lot of muscles and bones are still weak from the stress of carrying the baby’s weight. Under these conditions, the last thing you want is to have an injury from handling the baby.

 
 

Paying attention to body mechanics and avoiding rushed, jerky movements will go a long way in reducing the risk of injury.

Here’s the right way to pick up baby:

Picking up a baby from the bed or the crib:
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for balance. Try and get as close to the baby before lifting her as it is important not to stretch your arms or your back. So if the baby is at arm’s length, slide her towards you and then pick her up carefully. This would put a lot less stress on the shoulder, lower back and wrists.

Picking up your baby from the floor:
While picking up baby from the floor, most of us try to bend over while standing. This puts an awful lot of strain on the back. The best way to avoid strain on your back is get down on your knees as close as you can to your baby, tighten your abdomen muscles, and lift the baby gently by supporting its neck and back and hold her close to your chest.

Picking up baby from the stroller:
Again, most of us tend to bend at the waist and pick up the baby. This can hurt and strain the back. Picking up baby from the stroller is much similar to picking up from the floor. First make sure to remove the safety bar, bend on your knees and get as close as you can to the baby and lift her and bring her close to your body. This puts minimum pressure on your back!

Holding your baby while breastfeeding:
If you’re holding the baby in your laps while breastfeeding, it’s important to make sure that your back gets enough support. So keep a cushion behind you and lean back as far as you can. Instead of leaning forward, bring the baby as close as you can to your breast.  This will reduce the stress on your lower back.

Also remember, most of baby’s weight is on your arms. This can put a lot of pressure on your elbows and shoulder.  To relieve stress on these areas, prop her up on a soft pillow.

Lifting the baby in a baby carrier:
Stand directly in front of the carrier to avoid twisting your back. Try and centre yourself in front of the carrier while standing with feet apart (shoulder width). You could put one foot in front of the other. Bend your knees and hips without bending your back. Get a grasp of the carrier as you get closer to it. Lift the carrier by placing your hands on either side of the seat. Never lift the carrier by its handles. This will put a lot of pressure on your lower back.

Lifting your baby from the car seat:
If the car seat is in the centre of the seat, get in with one leg in, while facing the seat before lifting the baby. This will take the pressure of your back.

Do’s and Don’ts while Lifting Baby

Do

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart for better balance
  • Bend at the knees, not at the waist. Keep your back as straight as you can.
  • When you squat down, rest your elbow on your thigh. This will take the strain off your lower back.
  • Stand close to the baby before lifting
  • Don’t

  • Lift with your knees and hips straight
  • Stretch your arms while lifting baby
  • Lift with your feet close together, It could put you off balance.
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